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  • Informational TextEvaluating an ArgumentInformational TextConnecting to the LiteratureIntroducing the Informational Text Vocabulary

    Informational Reading Focus: Evaluating an ArgumentEvaluating an ArgumentAssignmentFeature Menu

  • The Lady or the Tiger? describes a system of justice in which the fate of the accused is decided entirely by chance. How fair is our own system, trial by jury? Read the following persuasive essay to find out what one expert thinks.[End of Section]

  • A Defense of the Jury System

  • A Defense of the Jury SystemIf you were charged with a crime, would you rather have a jury of your peers or a panel of judges decide your fate?Read A Defense of the Jury System for one authors views on the jury system in our country.[End of Section]

  • Vocabulary Developmentirrational adj.: not based on reason or logic.superficial adj.: not deep or thorough; shallow.obscure v.: conceal; cover up.advocates v.: supports; argues in favor of.conscientiously adv.: carefully and thoughtfully.affluent adj.: wealthy.

  • Vocabulary PracticeFill in the blanks with words from the Word Bank.1.On rainy days, clouds _________ the mountaintop view.2.An _________ argument is illogical.3.Sensitive and attentive, the nurse cared for her patients _____________.4.Someone with a _________ view of life might be called shallow.irrational superficial obscure conscientiouslyobscureirrationalconscientiouslysuperficial[End of Section]

  • When you read an authors argumenta series of statements intended to convince you of somethingyou are like a juror in a trial.Like a juror, you analyze the evidence presented and decide whether the argument is sound.

  • Understand the claim, or opinion.Read through the article to make sure you understand the issue.Identify the authors claim, or opinionthe thing the author is trying to prove.Restate the authors opinion in your own words.

  • Quick CheckJurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a juror is the ability to be fair and impartial.) Consequently, a jury will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences, rather than just the viewpoint and experiences of a single judge. The jury system thus helps ensure that a verdict will not be based on an individuals biases or lack of understanding of particular peoples experiences. from A Defense of the Jury System by Thomas M. Ross, Esq.What is the authors claim?

  • Quick CheckWhat is the authors claim?Because jurors come from varied backgrounds, the jury system helps ensure that verdicts are fair.Jurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a juror is the ability to be fair and impartial.) Consequently, a jury will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences, rather than just the viewpoint and experiences of a single judge. The jury system thus helps ensure that a verdict will not be based on an individuals biases or lack of understanding of particular peoples experiences. from A Defense of the Jury System by Thomas M. Ross, Esq.

  • Identify the support.To present persuasive arguments, an author must support his or her claims. Look forlogical appealsemotional appeals

  • Logical appeals include reasons and evidence.Reasons are statements that explain why the author holds an opinion.Evidence is the information that authors use to support their reasons. Evidence includesfactsstatistics (number facts)examplesquotations from or opinions of experts

  • Emotional appeals play on readers emotions rather than their reason. Emotional appeals includeloaded words (words with strong emotional connotations)Emotional appeals can be effective but shouldnt be relied on too heavily. Arguments that rely heavily on emotional appeals rather than logic are usually weak. anecdotes (brief stories)

  • The author claims that the jury system helps ensure a fair trial. What support does he present?Quick CheckJurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a juror is the ability to be fair and impartial.) Consequently, a jury will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences, rather than just the viewpoint and experiences of a single judge. The jury system thus helps ensure that a verdict will not be based on an individuals biases or lack of understanding of particular peoples experiences. from A Defense of the Jury System by Thomas M. Ross, Esq.

  • Quick CheckWhat support does the author present?He explains that jurors come from varied backgrounds.Jurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a juror is the ability to be fair and impartial.) Consequently, a jury will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences, rather than just the viewpoint and experiences of a single judge. The jury system thus helps ensure that a verdict will not be based on an individuals biases or lack of understanding of particular peoples experiences. from A Defense of the Jury System by Thomas M. Ross, Esq.

  • Quick CheckDoes the author use logical or emotional appeals?Jurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a juror is the ability to be fair and impartial.) Consequently, a jury will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences, rather than just the viewpoint and experiences of a single judge. The jury system thus helps ensure that a verdict will not be based on an individuals biases or lack of understanding of particular peoples experiences. from A Defense of the Jury System by Thomas M. Ross, Esq.

  • Logical appealsQuick CheckDoes the author use logical or emotional appeals?Jurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a juror is the ability to be fair and impartial.) Consequently, a jury will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences, rather than just the viewpoint and experiences of a single judge. The jury system thus helps ensure that a verdict will not be based on an individuals biases or lack of understanding of particular peoples experiences. from A Defense of the Jury System by Thomas M. Ross, Esq.

  • Evaluate the evidence.A good argument must be backed up by solid evidence. As you read, ask yourself:Does the evidence directly support the authors reasons?Does the author present sufficient evidence to back up generalizations and prove the claim?Has the author loaded the argument with emotional appeals instead of providing valid evidence?

  • How effective is the authors evidence?Quick CheckJurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a juror is the ability to be fair and impartial.) Consequently, a jury will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences, rather than just the viewpoint and experiences of a single judge. The jury system thus helps ensure that a verdict will not be based on an individuals biases or lack of understanding of particular peoples experiences. from A Defense of the Jury System by Thomas M. Ross, Esq.

  • The evidence is somewhat effective. Examples would strengthen the argument. Quick CheckHow effective is the authors evidence?Jurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a juror is the ability to be fair and impartial.) Consequently, a jury will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences, rather than just the viewpoint and experiences of a single judge. The jury system thus helps ensure that a verdict will not be based on an individuals biases or lack of understanding of particular peoples experiences. from A Defense of the Jury System by Thomas M. Ross, Esq.

  • Identify the authors intent.Think about why the author is making this argument. Pay attention to how the authors intent, or purpose, influences the tone of the argument.Look for bias, or prejudice, on the part of the author.

  • What is the authors intent?Quick CheckJurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a juror is the ability to be fair and impartial.) Consequently, a jury will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences, rather than just the viewpoint and experiences of a single judge. The jury system thus helps ensure that a verdict will not be based on an individuals biases or lack of understanding of particular peoples experiences. from A Defense of the Jury System by Thomas M. Ross, Esq.

  • To convince the reader that the jury system works.Quick CheckWhat is the authors intent?Jurors are drawn from both sexes, all ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, all adult ages, all religions, and all neighborhoods within a jurisdiction. (Indeed, the only qualification a person needs to be a j